How to make sense out of the chaos of running your company
One of the challenges that I see with small business owners, especially very small organizations, is getting and keeping control of the business and everything that it takes to do so. As a business leader, activities tend to take on a mind of their own, pulling us in every direction at once, challenging both our tenacity and mental stability at every turn. It seems as though everything is precarious at best; one misstep could take us plunging over the cliff into the abyss!!
For many business owners, this creates a level of tension and fear that consumes the business owner and at times, encouraging a number of reactive, gut level decisions resulting in “best guess” results.
- What happens when a customer challenges pricing or value?
- What happens when vendors don’t complete a deliverable on time?
- How will new legislations impact the business?
- What is the best process of hiring the right person so that I don’t have to keep re-hiring for the same position?
- What are the most important things that need to be done right now in order to ensure business continuity in the future??
…but these are the every day questions. These don’t even broach the topic of how you will grow, what strategies need to be pursued and what new products or services can you develop and deliver in order to stay ahead of the completion.
Well…you probably know that by flipping to a certain page in your operational plan, you have the answers to the questions in the first set of example questions, and your strategic plan has the answers to the questions in the second set, right?
If there were only a tried and true manual that had every answer to every question. If there were only a set of metrics that could always tell if you are keeping the Company on the right path toward success.
Interesting story: there was a startup company that was seeking to enter a certain market. The owner of the Company spent days, weeks and months researching and planning, uncovering all of the minute details, creating models and that sort of thing until…things changed drastically. The thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours spent planning seemed to not be as valuable. Not to say that NONE of the information was valuable, but rather the time spent seeking the level of detail could have been applied to other areas that might have been more mission critical.
This does NOT suggest that learning about competitors, the market, the industry, trends and other similar information would not be valuable, but rather having an understanding of what is important, what is priority would be more valuable. Too much information may have a tendency to limit possibilities and creativity. I read a quote once that speaks to this:
It’s amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn’t know what one can’t do.
Again – this isn’t to suggest that one would flip a coin and select a direction, but rather, be wary of what information is most important. But I digress.
The important thing to consider is that not everything is as important as it seems to be. As a business leader, you know that there will always be problems, there will always be issues, and things won’t always be exactly the way that you need for them to be unless you have spent the time and energy it takes to get them that way. Time and energy are the key; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rather, a vision was crafted and objectives and tasks were created that would be required to overcome in order to achieve the vision.
Here’s the thing: there were probably all sorts of distractions along the way; regardless, the Romans maintained a clear path toward their objective.
How does this apply to you? One of the most important things that you can do for your company is to determine what activities you need to invest time in every day or every week, no matter what that will push the Company towards the vision for it. This might look like dedicating a certain amount of time every day – perhaps a couple of hours at a specific time each day, or a certain day of the week, such as Saturdays or Sundays to do the specific tasks that need to be done to move your Company forward. This should also include your regular check-ins with your board, your consultant, accountability partner or other person or group to make sure that once you set the wheels in motion, you keep them moving.
On the path toward building something Extraordinary, things are going to happen. Sometimes, it seems that the harder you try, the bigger the obstacles. Consider this: if everyone could do it, it wouldn’t be extraordinary…but rather, ordinary.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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